Friday, March 21, 2014

Wanny's Words: Preparing Our Students for the 21st Century

By Wanny Hersey
Superintendent/Principal at Bullis Charter School

In the recent New York Times article “How To Get a Job at Google” Thomas Friedman explains that GPAs and test scores are no longer high on the list of criteria that innovative companies like Google look for when hiring employees.  Friedman interviewed Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google - and proud BCS parent! - Laszlo Bock for the article.

Laszlo explained the five attributes Google looks for in their employees company-wide, including the ability to process information on the fly and the ability to successfully collaborate with a team.  At BCS, our focus is to prepare all of our students to be successful, contributing citizens in the 21st century by providing them with the tools they will need in life - many of which were referenced in this piece.  In spite of being the highest performing school in Los Altos, I have always said that what we do at our school is not about test scores.  Friedman put it best when he wrote:

“And in an age when innovation is increasingly a group endeavor, it also cares about a lot of soft skills — leadership, humility, collaboration, adaptability and loving to learn and re-learn. This will be true no matter where you go to work.”

After reading the article, I asked Laszlo for his thoughts on how our programs help foster the skills needed to compete in the 21st century, based on his own family’s experience at our school.  Here is what he said:

"I've been impressed by the educational model at BCS.  The children at BCS benefit not just from a specific curriculum or technology lab but rather from a culture steeped in the idea that learning is a lifelong process of discovery as well as mastery.  I've seen them encouraged to take risks, learn from failure, and become leaders both in formal and informal ways. Collaboration and teamwork happen everyday here. These students are well positioned to become the leaders of tomorrow."

Students learn 21st century skills like collaboration and adaptability during their Engineering Design Intersession that is part of the core middle school curriculum at BCS